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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  November 13, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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he war room." i hope you join us tomorrow night. we'll have a great show. i hope you have a great night. >> eliot: good evening. i'i'm eliot spitzer. this is "viewpoint." bill maher will join me later in the program to discuss the absurdity that is politics and the way it's covered. many people are saying nothing is quite as absurd as the pandora's box opened by the fbi investigation into subsequent resignation of retired four star general david petraeus and it may have claimed another high-ranking military official, commander of the forces in afghanistan, john allen. florida socialite jill kelley complained about harassing e-mails and contacted a friend
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at the fbi. the account was found to have belonged to paula broadwell. she was given access to david petraeus. locate the was evidence of an affair between petraeus and miss broadwell. the information was leak and petraeus resigned. as more information trickled out, the story got crazier. the harassing e-mails revealed to be not so threatening. the investigation moved forward because of kel little's friendship with the fbi agent she contacted to complain about the e-mails. a friendship that involved the agent's sharing photo of himself. these photos caused the agent to be remove and launched an investigation into his own actions. then this morning and perhaps the otest turn yet reports surfaced of 20,000 to 30,000 pages of e-mails connecting general john allen to kelley. john allen took control of the forces in afghanistan after general petraeus left and who president obama has nominated to become nato's supreme allied
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commander in europe. the e-mails from allen were potentially inappropriate with some flirtatious in nature. today, jay carney said while the confirmation hearing for allen to become supreme commander was postponed, the president fully supports him. >> he has faith in general allen, believes he's doing and has done an excellent job. >> eliot: defense secretary leon panetta took time to address the complaints overs petraeus. >> i believe that there is a responsibility to make sure that the intelligence committee are informed of issues that could affect, you know, the security of those intelligence operations. >> eliot: joining me once again is charles swift a former judge advocate general corps attorney who works as a criminal defense attorney in seattle. sir, thank you for joining us.
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>> thank you governor, for having me. >> eliot: you just heard the defense secretary who is uniformly respected. but i gotta ask you do. >>gree there was -- do you agree there was anything that would have triggered an obligation or some reason to bring the congressional committees into this investigation? >> i deeply respect the secretary as well but in this case i disagree. the most important thing that he said was actually triggered a concern to national security. and there is nothing that has come forward that triggered that concern at all. the fbi has indicated they concluded there was no threat. if there is no threat, there is no obligation. >> eliot: i begin this with maybe again because of my days as a former prosecutor, i asked the simple question, is there evidence of criminal behavior either with respect to general petraeus or general allen and in your mind, having been a jag officer, do you see evidence of criminal conduct? >> no.
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and particularly where general petraeus is concerned because we have more of the substance of the original parts. they didn't meet the cyberstalking part. the fbi seems to have backed off a little and said the real concern was now that the writer of this had access to private or closely-held scheduling of theend others who were coming to tampa bay and they were worried about that. but quite frankly that's a job for both the military and/or the c.i.a. to investigate. that type of a security concern. not for the fbi. so the fbi still has some explaining to do in my mind. >> eliot: why the distinction if there is a legitimate reason or maybe the facts are different between the way general petraeus has offered his resignation and the president expressing support for general allen. is there a reason for that distinction that you can discern? >> absolutely. first off general allen's behavior flirting -- many
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things are against the military code of justice but flirting isn't. that being said, i can absolutely understand the secretary's actions where general allen is concerned at this point. the real question -- what's happening is general allen was up, as you said, to take over as nato's supreme allied commander. that's a senate-confirmed position. any time that there is an investigation, regardless of whether it has any merit or not that investigation is always concluded before you put somebody in front of the senate committee for them to go ahead and confirm or not confirm the person. so in this case, it is one of really unfortunate timing and 20,000 e-mails to go through. and so hopefully they can do that very quickly. it's unfortunate for general allen. it is extraordinarily unfortunate for him and it is unfortunate for the country that that's what we're going to spend the next few days doing. >> eliot: what is the basis -- many people are asking this
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intersection between the right to privacy. people send e-mails and get accustomed to pouring out their heart and soul in their e-mails. what's the foundation that you as a jag officer or anybody in military intelligence would need to go through to get access to somebody's private e-mails. when do you need to get judicial intervention. when do you need to get some form -- satisfy some sort of evidentiary? >> what happened perhaps to general allen is that they already have them. they probably would lack the ability to get general allen's e-mails except they got them from miss kelley. when miss kelley opened her e-mail accounts up to the fbi they were able -- they didn't just look at four threatening e-mails. she discovered quickly they'll look at everything. and so they got general allen's e-mails from miss kelley consensually turning them over. now whether to investigate this and what to investigate i just hope that the secretary simply
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being way overly cautious at this point. and in part, trying to shield general allen a little because you can imagine if the secretary didn't investigate it, what that senate confirmation hearing would be like. my hope is that the secretary can clear general allen and move the hearing along as fast as possible. but that's a hope. i'm sure it is also the secretary's hope. >> eliot: lieutenant commander, thank you for joining us again tonight. what i said last night it seems to me certainly one of the more intriguing pieces of this is the behavior of the fbi agent in the very beginning who seemed to have some -- i don't want to jump to conclusions perhaps an ulterior motive in initiating an investigation that didn't seem to satisfy even the fbi's own standards and parameters for initiation. and this is all cascaded from there. i expect that that will be an interesting investigation in due course. >> that needs to be investigated at length. it is one of the few things that does. >> eliot: too many years here
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back and forth with no substance underneath it. lieutenant commander charles swift, thank you for your time tonight. for more on the larger impact of the scandal let's bring in the foreign policy expert, james traub. mr. traub, you usually inform us about deeply important things going on in afghanistan iraq, around the world. now we're talking about e-mails and tawdry behavior. >> it is like a novel. i'm reading the kind of novel i don't normally read. >> eliot: we know you read them but that's okay. >> yeah. it's just -- it's like watching a car pileup, right? you really think i don't want to know this. you keep watching, reading. you love it. but how much of this matters? how much does it matter to us? not to holly petraeus. does it matter to us that david petraeus had an affair with paula broadwell. allegedly it does because he's the head of the c.i.a. and he could be blackmailed.
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well that's like boris and natasha stuff to me. this must have been true. it was true in the 1950s. who's going to be blackmailing him? the russians or the chinese are going to say we're going to tell the world you had an affair or otherwise please give us confidential information? then fine, go ahead and tell them. so this whole notion that he should be treated differently because he's the head of the c.i.a., die buy that. >> eliot: what should the president have done? question whether it should have gotten there. once the president had this, once he got the call as an executive, what should he do? >> the president should have said i need you. you've obviously done a very bad thing. you're now going to suffer a great deal reputationly with your wife, your family, a lot of painful things are going to happen but this does not to me, alter your capacity to do the job. i need you to do. and beyond all of that from a self-interest point of view, petraeus is his wingman.
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gates said the policy is good, republicans felt they had to fall in line. petraeus would have been the person who in the second term, would have provided obama with that same protection. that's a big thing for him to lose. >> eliot: this is an important strategic point i haven't seen made anywhere else. the role petraeus made, it wasn't that his wisdom was unique, i think we can accept in a country as vast as ours, many people were smart analytically. politically, he had capital that he brought with him. so he protected the president. >> probably one reason it hasn't been raised is that petraeus has been so silent for his first year in office. he's really aware of the -- i would have guessed as time went on, the administration was rolling out new policy in the second term, you want to have david petraeus be out there publicly. he's a great spokesman and people worshipped him. so he would have played that
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role and now he won't have any -- obama won't have anyone to do so. >> eliot: was colin powell that same person for bush? until after iraq was -- >> until it became clear that powell had no voice in that administration. so gates mattered because he did have a voice. petraeus would have mattered because he had a voice. and now he's gone. i also think given the need to think out counter terrorism policy which has been criticized on good grounds it has been criticized, balanced between drones on the one hand and development assistance and so forth in places like yemen you need someone like petraeus who's a broad-thinking person and not just a kind of c.i.a. mechanism. and that actually for all of the talented people in this country that's probably not so easy to replace. >> eliot: i want to go back to afghanistan unfortunately for a moment. interesting stories beginning to emerge that as our withdrawal
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not until 2014, complete withdrawal, as it approaches, you're seeing the rise of the warlords once again. which makes me think that nothing has changed between our entry and our departure. how do you assess what is likely to happen? >> in terms of petraeus, we all speak of him so refer ringsly. he -- reverentially. it was petraeus who made it impossible for obama to say no. i think if you read the accounts, obama wasn't really convinced it would work but could not in 2009, early part of his presidency, could not be seen as going publicly against petraeus. that's the petraeus part. i think it's become -- >> eliot: implicitly, you're saying joe biden had the better take on this. >> absolutely. people will come to see in retrospect that joe biden's dissent on afghanistan was one of the most courageous as well as intellectually forceful, internal dissents in an administration. god knows you never saw dick cheney playing that role with bush. >> eliot: 30 seconds to explain prospectively.
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>> the administration would like to be able to withdraw earlier the politics, they withdraw earlier. on the other hand, everything that happens in afghanistan says it is going to be a mess when you withdraw. and you need to preserve some sense of we did achieve our goal. so i suspect that they're going to want to stay as long as they can through 2014 and the big question will be how many troops do we keep after? 20,000? probably. 30,000 maybe. >> eliot: let me challenge you on one point. once we're out will anybody care? will the media pay attention? even if you accept as a premise it will become worse. once we're out we never should are gone in. >> the issue is if you want to carry out the counterterrorism policy whose goal is, even if the taliban comes back in, to keep out al-qaeda and people who are of harm to us, not to afghanistan, you need those troops there. >> eliot: fair point. weekly columnist for policy, james traub. approaching the edge of the
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fiscal cliff who's bluffing? senator bernie sanders joins me later.
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our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers. >> eliot: it's tough to be a car enthusiast in the era of global warming. that may change with your number of the day. 3.9 seconds is how fast the tesla model s goes from zero to 60 miles per hour. this helps to explain why it just became the first all electric car to win "motor trend" magazine's car of the year. even beating competition such as the porsche 911. "motor trend" isn't just being politically correct. the model s got this award because of electric or not it happens to be the fastest american-built sedan on the market. i don't mean to sound like a car
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ad, rather this marks a milestone in the hills of alternative energy. for years electric vehicles were derided as overgrown golf carts. even in the presidential debates, mitt romney listed green technology companies including tesla as loser investments. time and development are making these cars more practical. superchargers can fully power the model s in about an hour and six highway rest stops in california have solar-powered charging station. as for the model s itself, it goes about 285 miles on a full charge with a top speed of 125 miles per hour. that's faster than the speed limit. green energy isn't a novelty anymore and the end of gasoline may be on its way. all of that said, the porsche now to my point. (vo) jennifer granholm ... >>for every discouraged voter, there are ten angry ones taking action. trickle down does not work. in romney's world, cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft.
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that is a whole bunch of bunk. the powerful may steal an election, but they can't steal democracy. >> eliot: one year ago president obama bargained with republicans, offering a so-called grand bargain that cuts spending $10 for every $1 raised in revenue. the question now after the president won a near landslide victory is how to flip those numbers. as is often said, elections have consequences and the grand bargain if there is one must reflect that. the president has already begun to move beyond the beltway to enlist support meeting today with labor leaders from around the country who describe the talks as very, very positive. >> we're very, cre committed to making sure that the middle class and workers don't end up
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paying the tab for a party that we didn't get to go to and the president is committed to that as well. >> eliot: joining me now with more on the fiscal cliff negotiations is senator bernie sanders, independent from vermont. senator, many thanks for your time and congratulations on your genuine landslide victory of 71.3% in the great state of vermont. >> thank you. thank you. >> eliot: so how do we turn the exaltation of last week into results? how do we know say there must be a reformation of what had been offered to the republicans last year? >> well, eliot i tell you the wray to do it is very simple. listen to what the american people want, not what wall street wants not what inside the beltway pundits want but what the american people want. what they want is very clear. they said it in the election and they have said it in poll after poll after poll. and that is number one, at a time when we have incredible income and wealth and equality
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in this country where the wealthy are doing phenomenally well and their effective tax rates as buffett reminds us are -- the wealthiest people are going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes and certainly at the very least we won't extend bush's tax breaks for the top 2%. >> eliot: senator, the only thing i would add to your litany of how we can listen to the public is california prop 30. the state of california, an enormous percentage of our national population voted to increase taxes on the wealthy and in a very significant victory that was led by jerry brown much to his credit. what will the president offered? has he put numbers on the table that you're aware of that say to the republicans here is a deal you must accept? >> i don't know that he has. i was gratified to hear rich trumka coming out of a meeting with the president. look, what the formulation has
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got to be is that we end the absurd situation where one out of four profitability corporations pays nothing in federal taxes. we're losing over $100 billion every year because the rich and corporations are putting their money in the cayman islands. we have triple military spending since 1997, spending almost as much as the rest of the world combined. in other words eliot, there are fair ways to do deficit reduction without doing as the republicans want, cutting social security which by the way has nothing to do with the deficit. cutting medicare benefits, medicaid benefits or education. >> eliot: look the ratio that i referenced earlier where last year, the bargain was $10 of cutting for $1 of revenue, just seems an sorted. it was ethically wrong. wrong in every level back then. now it seems politically absurd as well. has the white house at least indicated to the republicans guys, that ratio is going to be flipped on its head.
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>> what the president recently talked about was two and a half to one before the election. i don't think that makes sense. i think for every dollar that you cut in spending, you've gotta raise $1 in revenue. that's the position that i strongly believe in. >> eliot: senator i think the vast majority of the public would buy your articulation of it as well. the idea today is that seems to have gained a little traction, oddly, is the one that mitt romney put forward of limiting to called deductions to the bucket of $25,000 and you can allocate as you wish. i remember when he mentioned that during the debate, we ran the numbers and it didn't come anything close to raising the revenue that was needed, even according to the bargain that was being discussed last year. so it is bothersome to me that that idea has some intellectual capital to it and seems to be gaining momentum in washington. >> look, if you want to be serious about deficit reduction you're going to have to allow the tax rates for upper income people to go back to the clinton era. that's where the money is. if you're really serious, then
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you go after the various loopholes that exist. but you cannot bargain away and i certainly hope that the president will keep his campaign promise that we are not going to extend the tax breaks for the top 2%. that is, as you've indicated that's where the money is. >> eliot: tomorrow the president is meeting with a range of ceos and granted they're an important constituency. they run important pieces of our economic structure. what should he tell them tomorrow when he meets with them? >> what he should tell them is that atime when the wealthy are doing phenomenally well and when corporate profits are in some cases off the wall, wall street is doing very well. that if they love this country that if they're serious about deficit reduction they are going to have to play a significant role. that they can't push the burden of deficit reduction on to the middle class which is struggling because of this terrible recession. >> eliot: i agree with you.
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he has to put it in the context of patriotism and their own economic well-being. they won't prosper if the middle class doesn't prosper. two weeks ago, a group of 80 ceos did take an interesting step and said they understood that marginal rates on the wealthiest perhaps should go up. i think he needs to build that consensus and shatter the pa patina of unity among ceos. do you think he will get firm allies among this group? >> i think there are some people there. bill crystal just made the point. this is one of the leading conservative intellectuals in the country said what's the big deal? what's the great crisis if the rich pay a few more dollars in taxes. people like bill crystal saying that and other ceos saying that, it is a step in the right direction. >> eliot: very quickly will you have the necessary 51 votes for a filibuster reform come early january? >> we're working really, really hard on that. we want to end this dysfunctionallity of the u.s. senate. we want real filibuster reform.
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>> eliot: vermont's newly re-elected bernie sanders. always great to have you on the show. >> good to be with
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that matter most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biologic medicine prescribed by rheumatologists. >> eliot: if you've watched fox news or listened to right wing radio lately, you know that mitt romney was defeated last week due to a combination of hurricane sandy and a black panther standing outside of a polling place in philadelphia. and that the general petraeus scandal is all a conspiracy by the obama administration to cover up what really happened in benghazi but if you watched any other news source over the past week, you wouldn't have heard these bizarre and counterfactual tales. the reason for this is my next guest will tell you those who get their news solely from right wing media are trapped in a bubble where no facts get inside. here to tell us about the g.o.p. bubble is bill maher the host of hbo's real time with bill maher. it is a genuine pleasure to have
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you on the show. >> always great to be with you. >> eliot: thank you. did reality and the fake reality of the right wing finally collide on election day and did karl rove melt down in front of us and show he couldn't deal with reality? >> i think that's what we saw there in real time to beg a phrase. on tuesday night. it was a pleasure to watch. yes, this was the last thing that could have done it to them. before this, there was always polling. they lived in their bubble. we had that bit as you pointed out on our show for oh, over a year. we would show different republicans saying things that were just bubblicious. completely nonfactual that they only told themselves. then finally they found polls like the rasmussen poll that closed a tiny hole in the bubble. so now they were getting even their own polling information. so the last thing that could have shocked them and woken them out of their dream was the election and it did.
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>> eliot: it was kind of amazing to watch on election night. even the anchors on fox news who have played along with the bubble stories over the past year, there were numbers on a piece of paper that they had to deal with and frankly, they had to look at karl rove and say this number is bigger than that one. karl, we can't lie anymore. karl couldn't deal with it. it made me wonder did karl rove actually believe the stuff he was spewing out to the general public? i believed he was smart enough not to believe it. he did it just for political purposes. >> well i do think he does wind up believing it. that's really the interesting back story. you have to go back to when they start to lie to the -- because long before there was an occupy movement, i was always saying i understand why republicans get 1% of the vote. obviously the richest 1%. the other 48% 49% 50% whatever they get those are all people they're fooling. but they forgot to remind themselves that they were lying
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to those rubes. take an example like the idea that millionaires are our heroes and they're job creators. well, that's a lie that they put forth to fool people to vote for them. but, of course, if they say it to each other night after night after fox news, they do. they begin to actually brainwash themselves and they begin to believe the lies that they are telling other people. and i think that's what happened. they believe their own nonsense. >> eliot: that's exactly right. i think they talk themselves to believing it. it is easier to propagate a lie when you believe it. fortunately on election day when you get numbers that say no, we won, you lost, the lies about polling and who is going to win disappear because that objective reality asserts itself. there are other areas where they continue to lie and distort like climate change and it worries me they haven't been shaken out of their reality yet and it is critically important that we do that. how do we shake both the karl roves of the world and people who still listen to fox out of the reality on the other
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substantive areas where there is an election day reality check? >> i don't know. i mean if losing an election this badly doesn't do it, i don't know what will. afterall, that's what they want more than anything else is to keep their jobs. is to keep going. and you can't keep going if you get thrown out of office. so we'll see. they're having a fight now. which is good. parties do that. the democrats have had fights like this before. and we'll find out who's going to win. you know, on the one hand, you have people like chris christie who looks like somebody to me like -- who could be a hopeful beacon for the republican party. somebody who -- when push came to shove worked with the president. put politics aside and said look, there are bigger things. i can embrace this guy. there was a lot of talk in the media about what were his machinations, i don't think it is that complicated. i think he's a basic guy. i don't agree with his
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philosophy of politics but basically some bad stuff happened to him in his state and he got the memo. and he's also a kind of a straight talking guy. there are times when i listen to him and i like him because he is saying things that are not -- doesn't sound like a pander. he's the opposite of mitt romney. and i think this generation, especially, they may not be well-informed, i think we're still going to have a lot of low-information voters but they're savvy about media. i kind of think mitt romney may be the last candidate we see who is of that order that everything he says, everything that comes out of his mouth just seems like it was preprogrammed. chris christie seems to be the opposite of that. >> eliot: chris christie has an authenticity, i'm with you i don't agree with his underlying philosophy but there is an authenticity about him. he has speaked his passed. i don't mean he's oversized -- i didn't mean to say it that way -- he is emotionally
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powerful. mitt romney was always calculating. you hope when we had get into the next round of elections, the republicans will say we need somebody who can be authentic because the public does, in fact, value that. one of the things, we're seeing, you talked about warfare in the republican party that's beginning, they seem to have realized sort of collectively immigration is a place where they've got to change their tune. they can't write off the latino vote. that's good. the tax battle, they're still sort of struggling. you got bill crystal willing to say taxing the rich is okay. even on that issue, do you think there will be beacons of hope in the republican party who are willing to speak to fairness a bit more? >> i think we see that already. i think it is easier for them to move on an issue like taxes because afterall, many people in the republican party before them moved on taxes. most notably reagan. all they have to do is look up what he really did and they can get a little political cover on that. the other thing you mentioned the racial stuff that, will be
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harder for them. i saw right after the election, a number of them, rush limbaugh, i saw -- lamenting the passing of the white demographic. you know like -- basically was saying well, what do you expect me to be? i'm a racist and a misogynist, you don't expect me to give that up. what happened to the days, people when you could speak crap about blacks and latinos and gays and they didn't hold it against you at the polls. i mean gee what are we coming to? those are the people when they get to the next round of primaries, the people that go to the debates the people who boo when they -- you know, a gay soldier is introduced or something, those are the people who are always going to be dragging them back to their base. >> eliot: there is a neanderthal element within the party on immigration issues. let's hope they're dwindling minority for the sake of our democracy. i want to flip to the other side because you and -- many -- i
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included were at different times in the obama -- presidency's first term, critical of his mallability his willingness to concede on points where we felt he shouldn't have. he has won re-election it is a -- whether it is a mandate or not. how do you instill in the white house, the strength to hold firm on some of the fundamental issues whether it is climate change or tax rates and not be so desperate to reach across the aisle for a deal to appear there is a good, compromising sort? >> well, that's a great question and no one really knows what's in the president's heart. although i don't think he lacks for firmness or courage. i think everything he didn't do that we wanted him to do in the first term were things he knew he couldn't do because his plate was full with so many other things. it is funny you mention this because our finale of the season is friday night. our ending editorial is about turning our fire now toward
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obama. we've had our fun with the republicans but the point i'm going to be trying to make is that look, we stood shoulder to shoulder with you for at lives the last six months because i personally anyway did not want to muddy the waters. in a country where you only get two choices and one was clearly the superior choice. i didn't want people to be having doubts about whether they should vote for obama versus mitt romney. that was not a choice at all. but that election is over. the conservatives are worse. but the conservatives lost. and now now is the time for progressives and i mean you i mean me, i mean everybody at msnbc, we can obsess about every stupid thing the conservatives do and they will keep doing stupid things but really, what we need to do, i think, is turn our attention to the president and hold his feet to the fire on those issues like getting out of afghanistan, civil liberties stopping the drug war climate change. these are issues where he was not able to do, i'm sure, as
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much as he wanted to do in the first term but look, he has no more elections to run. if not now when? this is the time. >> eliot: that was a perfect articulation. i imagine we'll hear it friday night in you are editorial as well. >> with jokes. >> eliot: that was great. don't muddy it with jokes. this was great. you said one thing -- go back to the beginning of that oration that politics is a matter -- compared to what. that was barney frank's favorite phrase. i had seen him deliver a speech a couple of weeks back. you have these choices. president obama unquestionably the right choice. now as you say we have to make sure we keep his feet to the fire. afghanistan very quickly, shouldn't he just get the troops out? read the stories day after day. we're doing nothing but losing american lives. >> of course we should. and you know, i don't have a high hope for that one because once they set a date like 2014,
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it is a little hard to switch that up but yeah, if he really wanted to be bold, he could say hey, look, i looked at my calendar and i got the date wrong. it was really 2013. and as ron paul always said, we marched in, we can march right out. >> i wish he would. thank you, bill, for your time. the host of hbo real time with bill maher. your show is brilliant. we'll be watching friday night. >> thanks, eliot. >> eliot: president obama's second-term cabinet. i have a few ideas that
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stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor. from silver screens... to flat screens... twizzlerize your entertainment everyday with twizzlers the twist you can't resist. >>you couldn't say it any more powerfully than that. >>it really is incredible. >> eliot: my suggestions for the president's second term cabinet include a few peoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeoeo
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[ forsythe ] we don't just come up here for the view up in alaska. it's the cleanest, clearest water. we find the best
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sweetest crab for red lobster that we can find. [ male announcer ] hurry in to red lobster's crabfest! the only time of year you can savor 5 succulent crab entrees all under 20 dollars. like a half-pound of tender snow crab paired with savory grilled shrimp, just 12.99. or our hearty crab and roasted garlic seafood bake. [ forsythe ] if i wouldn't put it on my table at home, i wouldn't bring it in. my name's jon forsythe and i sea food differently.
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>> eliot: what would a truly
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progressive cabinet look like? president obama now has the enviable task of restocking his administration. recharging the top ranks of the decision-makers with those who may well determine whether the second term establishes the president as a progressive icon or a status quo second termer. in that spirit, i thought it might make sense to suggest a few names. for treasury, paul krugman. something to be said for having been right. as far back as the early days of the cataclysm he has diagnosed the problem properly both its micro and macroeconomic implications and called for the right remedies. he called out the beltway bloviatersers who mince words and are afraid to take a chance and usually go along to get along. paul won a nobel prize for a reason. the last thing we need is another wall street voice filled with self--serving malarkey about the reason businesses aren't investing. for secretary of state, john
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kerry not just because he won't be the part but because he has the depth of knowledge and capacity to deal with the gnarly problems out there. let's face it, the agenda isn't pretty. even after we're out of afghanistan and iraq, the middle east is a mess. the iran situation is a conundrum and china is omnipresent. for defense, colin powell among the wisest and thoughtful military leaders out there plain and simple. the ccny grad, too. dennis or gary. dennis has proven to his advocacy of better markets they've fully understands and actions that need to be brought and during his more than 15 years as a partner one of the nation's largest and finest law firms, he proved he knows the actual nuts and bolts of the lawyering that is used to mask what is going on. genser will has been a wonderful rice for reform from his perch at the cftc. proven where you come from is
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effective of how you think. >> joe, the other half of the krugman equation. his nobel and writings prove he, too, is one of the few who's been right and doesn't cave to the establishment on wall street. for director of the omb reasonert reich. read hig books transcripts on the show. bring him back. for energy my colleague jennifer granholm. last thing we want is to lose her here at current but she would be great as a. g. governor and as a host, she gets the politics. this is a start. these type of progressive minds are what we need, a cabinet that understands the import of the now to my point. (vo) jennifer granholm ... >>for every discouraged voter, there are ten angry ones taking action. trickle down does not work. in romney's world, cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft.
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that is a whole bunch of bunk. the powerful may steal an election, but they can't steal democracy. >> eliot: here at current, we'll be highlighting issues of hunger obesity and malyounutrition across our media platforms. i will be using at the u.s. farm bill with peter welch of vermont. later on in "the war room," she'll host two groups that are attacking the hunger issue head on. for more infororororororororororororororororororororororororororor
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>> eliot: all this week, current tv will be highlighting a series of sellments called currently feeding the need and
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when discussing any issues concerning food and hunger in america, there's no better place to start than with our nation's farmers. the u.s. farm bill expired at the end of september without congress passing or even voting on a new bill. the farm bill is an enormous piece of legislation that sets farm insurance policies, conserves, agricultural land and provides nutrition programs for millions of americans. you would think that something that affects the food supply and prices for every american would be a top priority for even the most dysfunctional lame duck congress in its last weeks yet it seems that a new bill may have to wait until early next year when the process will start all over. joining me now to tell us just how vital a farm bill is and why congress refuses to deal with it is a great friend, congressman peter welch democrat of vermont and a member of the house agriculture committee. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> eliot: what is the farm bill and why doesn't it fly through congress with almost unanimous support? >> there's two questions. the farm bill, every five years
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is reauthorized by congress. it has essential components for food stamps which feeds millions of americans in tough times. number two it has conservation programs which are so essential the reason of this drought in the midwest at oklahoma that we didn't have a dust bowl, we have farm bill programs that avert that by supporting best practices that are environmentally sound. third, it has commodity price and safety programs for things like dairy which is essential to vermont. it has environmental farm safety net programs and it has nutrition programs. there's a lot of stuff in there to argue about. there's some things in there at i don't like at all but the notion we don't even vote on a farm bill is an indication, in fact eliot exhibit a of a dysfunctional congress. this would be the first time in the history of the united states congress where a farm bill that was passed on a bipartisan basis
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by the house agriculture committee wasn't even brought to the floor for a vote. why is that? when i spoke to mr. cantor, he basically said he didn't think he had the votes. i said well, you know what? let's try. because we can vote yes or we can vote no and then we can be held accountable by our constituents for how we voted. what we can't defend is not voting at all. so we should taking up this farm bill. it is ready to go. and then let the american people decide whether they support or disagree with our votes. >> eliot: one of the things that's fascinating. you said it passed with bipartisan support through the agricultural committee which ordinarily would be an indication that when it got to the house, there would be enough bipartisan support to make it through. what are the sticking points, what are the most -- contentious pieces of the bill generating this opposition? >> it is an extensive bill. it has nutrition programs, about $80 billion. there are cuts that a lot of us on the democratic side are opposed to. there are many republicans republicans who
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who want the cuts to be larger. there are commodity price support programs that are controversial. some of us like me would like to see those lower. some of the republicans would like to see them higher. the environmental programs, i would like to see boosted. so there is a lot of issues because it is a big bill with a big price tag but the point is the fact that it's a difficult bill to address doesn't mean that we can use that as an excuse not to do our job. >> eliot: avoidance behavior is the worst alternative here and the avoidance behavior of not voting, leaves a gaping hole. what happens if it is not reauthorized in the absence of specific legislative enactment? do the programs come to a stand still? >> they don't. they continue into next year but the situation next year becomes much worse because under these -- these arcane, congressional budget office guide lines and budget rules then it would be much tougher on food stamps to reauthorize food
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stamp funding at a substantial level or even the dairy program would vanish altogether. so a lot of your new york dairy farmers, vermont dairy farmers who find themselves without any kind of safety net no matter what happens the irony of this is that this program -- this farm bill actually lowers cost and saves taxpayers money. but because there's a fight about it not being enough or being too much, we're not even voting on it and we're putting ourself in a situation where everybody is a loser next year if we let these new cvo budget guidelines restrict our ability to make responsible decisions for rural america for nutrition and conservation. >> eliot: as you look into 2013, do you think there will be a consensus that will bring essentially the bill that passed your committee this year to the floor of the house for a vote and if it does, reach that vote and passes, is it close enough to what the senate has done to
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provide some hope there will be a resolution of this? >> well, that's the theory among some of the folks who want to do manana manana. that makes no sense. there's nothing that we'll know next year that we don't know today. this is about whether we're going to man up to use a famous sarah palin analogy. and do our job. if there were something that were going to develop over the next few months and would serve a purpose, there would be some justification. the only purpose it is serving is avoidance responsibility by congress to do its job. we must pass a farm bill. that's the job of congress every five years. we can have a debate about the content. then we can be held accountable whether people agree or disagree with the votes we took. not acting is irresponsible. >> eliot: congressman i can tell you having been in elected office here in new york, the dairy industry in new york does depend enormously upon this piece of legislation for the support in many different ways
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that comes through. very quickly you said today that you were willing to let us go over the cliff. so-called fiscal cliff. that is not as dire as others are trying to suggest. explain to us very quickly why that is. >> i think our debt is a serious problem that we have to address. it is so important that it is much more important that we get it right and do it quick to avoid the inconvenience of this january 1 drop-debt date. so the best option would be the president's leadership come to a responsible agreement. i'm skeptical they'll be able to do that because there's been no discussion for two years. what i fear the most is that we'll simply erase the january 1 date and kick the can down the road to use speaker boehner's phrases and send financial markets, the absolute confusion that yet again is dysfunctional. my preference would be we come back in january. we've got the advantage where we can put on the table tax cuts for the middle class. >> eliot: congressman we have to go. we'll get you back to
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